Stories

Shades of Waldorf

“The sun with loving light makes bright for me each day, the soul with spirit power gives strength unto my limbs. In sunlight shining clear I revere, Oh God, the strength of humankind, which thou has planted in my soul, that I may with all my might, may love to work and learn. From thee stream light and strength to thee rise love and thanks.”

Rudolf Steiner

Bella reads this passage each morning before we begin our school day. It is a prayer of sorts that fills the air with love and gratitude.

Following the reading, Bella and I do basic Eurythmy (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurythmy) movement with accompanying vowels, “a,e,i,o,u.” Each vowel holds specific energy and communicates a deeper meaning through the movement.

We are still learning about this aspect of the Waldorf curriculum. Rudolf Steiner had a strong conviction of its importance. Bella seems to love it, and therefore, we continue on.

I write about Rudolf Steiner today as I continue to feel the importance of his beliefs, and his message for both teachers and the children they influence. It is wisdom for all of humanity.

As I move through each day as Bella’s mother, friend and active caregiver, I realize that the greatest teaching / learning is actually taking place for her (..and for me) in the spaces of love, laughter and experiential lessons around and in between the formal curriculum of school work.

Rudolf Steiner wrote, “The heart of the Waldorf method is that education is an art, it must speak to the child’s experience. To educate the whole child, his heart and his will must be reached, as well as the mind.” I observe this to be so, and see how important the moments of play are, the moments of doing simple tasks, and the moments of just being.

You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.” These words written by Rudolf Steiner play like a beautiful refrain in my mind. They strengthen my motivation for self discovery and provide the basis for more meaningful work, and connection with Bella during our homeschool experience.

Each day, we talk about having a “happy heart.” I observe that with a happy heart, this imperfect world, shines with moments of perfection.

“In sunlight shining clear…” I see the beauty of what Rudolf Steiner saw. The gift he has given this world is immeasurable.

Even if you only embrace various shades of the Waldorf curriculum into your experience as a parent, teacher, or being, it cannot help but open up windows of insight into who you really are, and give you glimpses of otherworldly perfection.

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Clouds Roll In

The clouds roll in, the clouds roll out, and sometimes they overstay their welcome. Today was one of those days.

Bella was able to make it through her school work and seemed okay during lunch, but in the afternoon, there were overhanging clouds of heightened sound sensitivity, and accompanying noise (made by Bella) to let me know how she felt about it.

One of the most puzzling aspects of Bella’s sound sensitivity and autism, is the impressive amount of noise she can generate even though she cannot stand various sounds.

Something I observe is that Bella will make noise just to avoid the eventuality, or posibility of sound. She abhors unpredictable sound.

Watching her closely, assisting her through rough spots, and managing my own energy along the way. Tomorrow is another day.

In more cheerful news, Bella and I went to see a 2D animated movie last weekend called, “Pachamama.” It was artistically beautiful and Bella seemed to enjoy it.

Bella’s fairy, arts and crafts project from last week is still brightening up a little corner in our kitchen. Every time I look at it, I think of the magic I believed in as a child, and how that magic is still with me deep at heart. It is the very thing that keeps me going on days like today.

Bella’s grandmother sent us a picture of the photo of Bella that we sent her for Christmas. She has framed it beautifully and attached a little accoutrement charm to the frame that says, “love.” Oh, how Bella loves her grandma!

Love indeed. Love is where all magic is born, and where all manner of unbelievable good can be felt and experienced.

Love sustains, and bring sunshine to the heart, even on cloudy days.

Wishing you all a bright hearted week!

…And a Happy New Year!

Even though we’ve had a sweet Christmas, and family here to help us ring in the new year, the house feels comfortably quiet and peacefully still.

I am unapologetically late with the blog this week as a symptom of burnout. Anyone relate? Renewing energy is primordial, especially for those actively caring for special needs children. So, here I am, …battery is charging.

Bella typically has very little interest in the world outside of her routine, with the exception of our adventures to the cinema a few times per month. However, I sense this is slowly shifting.

Bella made the cutest posters to welcome her cousin’s visit for the New Year holiday (..see below).

Unfortunately, her cousin wasn’t completely enthusiastic about connecting, and Bella has been disappointed. Still, they did share some good moments. They had a makeup party, made crafts together, and we all went to a movie together downtown. Bella was grateful for the interaction, and it was wonderful for me to witness.

Here is a picture of Bella with her cousin and friend, Coline.

And the lovely butterfly makeup kit they used for their makeup party!

We took down the Christmas tree and declarations yesterday. All that remains are the memories made, and the sweet feeling of promise in the new year ahead.

Bella has found joy in doing some small mosaic, art projects the last few days after finishing some glitter fairies with her cousin. Here is one of the sticker mosaics she has completed.

Now then, I hereby give you all permission to unashamedly charge your energetic, soul batteries, and to celebrate every moment! Even when you are asked to go it alone, or you are disappointed with outcomes you held fixed expectations about. I observe that kids (..on the spectrum or not) can teach us how to roll with the punches.

By all means, have a wonder filled 2019!

A Magical Day

Bella’s birthday was magical indeed! I outdid myself making the unicorn cake (#cupcakejemma) and ended up not feeling my best. I am still recuperating. It was absolutely worth it!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million, right? Here is a video recap of Bella’s big day last week! Enjoy!

Wishing you all merry and bright this holiday season!

Gingerbread House – 2018

We made our first gingerbread house last year, and loved it so much we stayed with the tradition, and did another one this year. It puts all of our hands to work in order to put these little houses together successfully. It is a fun family activity. We laughed a lot, especially when things didn’t go the way we thought they would. Bella did nearly all the decorating! Here’s a short video to show off her work. Happy Christmas vibes to all!

Watch with Glittering Eyes

Roald Dahl wrote, “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Around our house, we believe in magic, and things are definitely getting sparkly around here!

Bella will soon be celebrating her 11th birthday! She has picked out a pretty snazzy outfit to celebrate her big day in. Check it out!

The dress and magic wand are from Zara Kids France, the gilet (cardigan) is from H & M France, and the lil boots are from Vertbaudet France. The dress and wand have arrived, and we will receive the boots and cardigan any moment. I have praised Zara before, and I’ll do it again…I love their kids clothing! Having said this, I am trying to get away from “Fast Fashion.” I am aware that those who make the clothing (in many cases) aren’t paid a fair wage. With this in mind, I create capsule wardrobes for Bella, and for myself, and we always recycle; giving Bella’s clothing to friend or family as she grows out of them. 

Here is the dress and wand that arrived (..I appreciate Zara’s attention to detail regarding the packaging). I look forward to gift wrapping these and the other outfit items, and presenting them to Bella the morning of her birthday! She’s going to be so excited!

Alongside prepping for Bella’s birthday celebration, we’ve been busy with school as usual. Bella started a new unit called, Christmas Around the World. She’s “traveled” to America, Canada, Mexico and Germany so far, and will continue her travels to Sweden, Spain, Italy and England. Here are pictures of Bella enjoying this new focus.

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Wishing you all a sparkly December! We’ll be back with more magic next week!